ICAC finds TAFE NSW ICT manager corruptly reaped $1.76 million

Friday 4 March 2016

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found that former TAFE NSW South Western Sydney Institute (SWSI) acting information and communications technology (ICT) services manager Ronald Cordoba engaged in serious corrupt conduct by improperly exercising his public official functions to obtain more than $1.76 million from the SWSI and one of its contractors for his own business.

In its report, Investigation into the conduct of a TAFE NSW ICT manager, released today, the Commission finds that, between January and July 2014, Mr Cordoba improperly engaged in corrupt conduct by exercising his official functions to obtain $1,709,904.90 from the SWSI for his business, ITD Systems Pty Ltd.

This included by providing false and misleading information about the registration of a vendor on the NSW Department of Education and Communities’ systems applications products system, ordering goods on behalf of the SWSI from a business that he owned and operated without declaring a conflict of interest, supplying false and misleading documentation to the SWSI to conceal that he was ordering goods from that business, and falsely certifying that goods had been received by the SWSI while knowing that this was untrue.

Mr Cordoba deliberately concealed his ownership of ITD Systems by using the company name and Australian Business Number of ITD Pty Ltd, a company that was registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, but with which he had no connection. He also corresponded with SWSI administrators using a false name and position title.

Mr Cordoba also engaged in serious corrupt conduct when, in about February 2014, he improperly exercised his official functions to ensure that the SWSI engaged a company, Cloud People Pty Ltd, to provide “virtual labs” with the intention of obtaining for ITD Systems a benefit of $55,000 from that company, a benefit that was received. There are no findings made against Cloud People or its personnel.

The ICAC is of the opinion that consideration should be given to obtaining the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions with respect to the prosecution of Mr Cordoba for offences including fraud, in relation to the monies paid to ITD Systems by Cloud People and the SWSI, wilfully making a false statement to a Commission officer, and making a false or misleading statement during an ICAC compulsory examination.

The Commission makes three corruption prevention recommendations, including that the SWSI finance unit scrutinises expenditure involving out-of-contract suppliers on a periodic basis, that SWSI undertakes a regular analysis of vendor payments based on computer-aided audit reports to detect anomalies in the procure-to-pay system, and that the SWSI establishes formal project management and governance structures to oversee ICT projects and implement formal value-realisation analysis at the completion of projects.

The Commission held a public inquiry, as part of the investigation, over three days on 17 August, 18 August and 7 September 2015. Commissioner the Hon Megan Latham presided at the public inquiry and six witnesses gave evidence.

Media contact: ICAC Manager Communications & Media Nicole Thomas 02 8281 5799 / 0417 467 801

Investigation report

Fact sheet